Engaging with the CIQ

Christy JohnsonOne of the questions included on the Fuller application asks: “At this point in your Christian journey, how do you envision your call to God’s mission in the world?” On my own application, I wrote that I wanted to further Christ’s redemptive work in his broken creation, to embody his compassion to others by offering greater depth of spiritual care, particularly to the sick and emotionally wounded.

Well, come to find out, this “Central Integration Question” has been revisited a number of times throughout the Touchstone Course. Already by the time of our first assignment to revisit this question nine weeks ago, the small amount of information gained through the course at that point, particularly concerning the Practical Theology Cycle, contributed to a shift in my revision. Upon reflecting more deeply on my activities and stirrings at that time, my background and culture, biblical and theological texts and influences, and powerful stories of my own and others, my response to this same question shifted to being, simply, a “safe presence for people in my circle of influence.” While it carried some of the same ideas as my initial response, I found myself more focused in my daily activity to step further into this idea of “safe presence.”

Since then, we have had the opportunity to look at vocation from many angles, with the assistance of readings, lectures, interviews, Lectio Divina exercises, personal reflection, writing, and discussion. In addition to these, personal experiences have caused me to think yet again about this idea of my call to God’s mission in the world. There is a particular talent that, while I have had extensive training in it, I have tried in recent days to dismiss it, due to the negative impact of past influences on me and my struggle to break away from their inherent lies. But God has a way of unveiling such lies and redeeming buried talent. While I don’t know exactly what God’s recent activity means in terms of my call, I am attuned to the possibility of his resurrecting this gift and using my experience to offer hope to others.

So what is my response to this question now, as I wrap up this first of four spiritual formation classes? At this point in my Christian journey, my first call is to welcome Christ’s redemptive, restorative presence into the workings of my daily life. Secondly, as a living testimony to God’s grace and healing, I want to provide a safe, welcoming space—a sort of family room—for people to find rest, refreshment, encouragement, healing, and freedom in God. This may be in the context of compassionate presence, writing, or music, student-focused teaching, or joyful support of others’ talents. Finally, as a current student at Fuller, I am called to study well, to glean from the amazing resources around me, and to contribute to the Fuller community as I continue to seek God regarding future embodiment of my call.

Likely, as time progresses and the Lord continues to orchestrate my growth, my answer to this same question will shift yet again.

Thanks for listening. May you be encouraged in your own process as you discern your sense of call to God’s mission in the world.

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